Tuesday morning one liners (KG is taunting Raptors again)


Our morning look around the NBA — links to stories worth reading and notes to check out (stuff that did not get its own post here at PBT).

Kevin Garnett went all Kevin Garnett and taunted a Raptor during a meaningless preseason game. Does this even shock us anymore?

Jason Terry had to leave Mavericks practice early Monday and ended up at the hospital, but it appears not to be serious. He did not join the team for its exhibition game.

Toney Douglas and Carmelo Anthony are taking turns initiating the offense for the Knicks.

Chris Paul and Pau Gasol were not really chatty during a preseason game Monday.

The Nets say they are not near a deal with Andrei Kirilenko.

Derrick Favors had 25 points, 12 boards last night in a preseason game. No Paul Millsap there to take some of those from him, either. Enes Kanter had 10 boards but was 1-of-9 shooting.

George Karl says you don’t need a superstar to win an NBA title. He’s right, there are the 2004 Pistons. Of course, find another team in the last 30 years to fit that mold….

Jamal Crawford was running some point for the Blazers last night, and looked pretty solid doing it.

Paul Allen says he has no interest in selling the Trail Blazers.

Mike Brown likes being the coach of the Lakers (and he didn’t even get to date the boss’ daughter).

Channing Frye’s shot has been off so far through training camp, but he says he expects it to come back around soon. Probably not soon enough for Alvin Gentry’s comfort.

The Knicks are still talking to James Posey. They got Baron Davis to sign for the veterans minimum so they have their mini mid-level at $2.5 million.

The Spurs released three-point specialist Steve Novak, who was quickly snapped up by the Knicks. He fits as part of that offense.

Jannero Pargo is expected to sign with Atlanta, where he would back up Jeff Teague.

Sean Williams will be with the Mavericks this season.

Chuck Hayes is expected to be out for the season, but the Rockets are reportedly checking to see his status going forward already.

Former Knick Andy Rautins has signed with Lucentum Alicante in Spain.

James Harden: “I am the best player in the league. I believe that.”

James Harden, Stephen Curry
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James Harden was the MVP last season — if you ask his fellow NBA players.

The traditional award (based on a media vote) went to Stephen Curry (in the closest vote in four years), and that was the right call (in my mind). But from the time it happened Harden did not buy it. And he still doesn’t buy it. In the least — and he’s using that as fuel for this season. That’s what he told Fran Blinebury over at NBA.com.

“I am the best player in the league. I believe that,” he said. “I thought I was last year, too.”

Well, it’s a more realistic claim than Paul George’s.

“But that award means most valuable to your team. We finished second in the West, which nobody thought we were going to do at the beginning of the year even when everybody was healthy. We were near the top in having the most injuries. We won our division in a division where every single team made the playoffs.

“There’s so many factors. I led the league in total points scored, minutes played. Like I said, I’m not taking anything away from Steph, but I felt I deserved the Most Valuable Player. That stays with me.”

That’s very Kobe Bryant of you to turn that into fuel. Defining the MVP Award is an annual discussion that nobody agrees on.

I could get into how Harden was the old-school, traditional stats MVP, how that ignores how Steve Kerr used Curry, and how that opened up the Warriors’ offense to championship levels. Curry put up numbers, but he was also the distraction, the bright star that Kerr used to open up looks for Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and others. Curry’s strength was not just what he did with the ball in his hands, but his gravity to draw defenders even when he didn’t. Did the Warriors stay healthier than the Rockets? No doubt. Should Curry be penalized for that?

It’s simple for Harden — if he can put up those numbers again, if he can be the fulcrum of a top offense, he will be in the discussion for MVP again. And, if he can lead the Rockets beyond the conference finals, nobody will talk about that MVP snub anyway.